A Missionary Journey in Kenya

Receiving more than I give


Appreciation for FREE website to unlock Blackberry phones
gconlanomi

http://freemyblackberry.com/index.php

Some of you will be aware that many phone companies lock mobile phones to one company to prevent changing easily to another company.  I was given two older Blackberry mobiles in Canada (9530 model) to bring back to Kenya for use in the Parish or among the Oblates who had a sudden need – ie. losing your phone or crashing and smashing it.

I was a bit worried about the unlocking charges which are usually around $30 in Nairobi.  I found a website that promised to do it for only $10, but I was afraid it might be a scam.  While checking if it was valid, I luckily came across another website called “Free My Blackberry”  http://FREEmyBLACKBERRY.com 

This website offered a FREE service (24 hour wait) or a $3 service for instant results… it worked and cost nothing.  Thanks very much to the people who set it up.

It was amazing… the instructions are clear about how to get the exact model details so that the unlock key would be correct… it was a case of going blindly into the depths of hidden places in the blackberry and finding a special code.  Blind because you can’t see what you are typing in order to enter this restricted hidden area.

Anyway, the website asks that we promote them as a gesture of appreciation.  The code was sent after 24 hours and careful instructions given how to enter it and unlock the phone.  I did two phones and it worked perfectly.  Thanks Br Dan and Yvonne for the phones.

Hope you are all going well. I hope to add more stories as we go along.  Take care and God Bless, Gerard

image

 


Canada Week 1 – St Walburg
gconlanomi

On Saturday 20th April, 2013, Fr Eugene Warnke OMI drove me up to St Walburg, about 3 hours north of Saskatoon.  We passed the famous town of Battleford and decided we should visit on the way home.  We arrived in good time and were warmly greeted by Fr Richard Doll OMI, a veteran of 33 years in South Africa… having returned home 13 years ago.

image

It was a wee bit cold but the local people were typical country people: warm and interested in others, although a bit quiet during Mass!  After a quick supper, we went to Paradise Hill about 20km away for the Saturday evening Mass.  The 7pm Mass was followed by coffee and a 30min presentation on Kenya.  They usually gather for coffee, so we didn’t interrupt the schedule too much.  About 8:30pm we had a snow storm, and as we drove home at 9:30pm, we were a little cautious worried about ice on the roads.  We made it safely home and I was given strict instructions to sleep in until 8 or 9am! 

image

On the left is the old church – now a museum.  In the middle is a new presbytery (it took 3 years to build!), and the new church on the right, which has a new hall attached at the back.

Mass was at 11am, and was followed by soup and coffee.  My method is not to persecute people in the homily, but just tell one or two stories to link the gospel in.  Then talk for 30 minutes after Mass with a series of pictures on the slide show.  People were very interested and asked lots of questions.  One lady shared how they already sponsor some orphanage in Kenya, and another how her son (engineer) and daughter (Doctor) worked in Kenya for 1 year.  The C.W.L. promised to send a donation to the C.W.A. in Kenya.

image

The two boys are twins… the one on the left quickly pointed out to me that he was the “handsome one”. LOL   One of the difficult areas to get funding support for, is the formation of priests and brothers.  I am trying to encourage people to see this work as the formation of LEADERS in the local community… men who will be honest, committed and actively use current and future donations efficiently in Kenya.

On the return journey, we passed through Battleford… a famous Oblate location since 1931, where so many men were formed for religious and priestly life.  I understand in winter it was very cold!  There are 160 men in the Oblate cemetery there, so we went for a look… I didn’t stay to pray for fear I might be turned to stone!!  (The wind chill factor was high.)  The snow was very high.  Br Don Claerhaut OMI is the Local Superior and has spent a few years in Kenya and Zimbabwe helping to build whatever was needed at the time.

image

We then had a short happy hour, evening prayer and supper together.  It is a sad sign of the times that they have a house with 17 rooms and only 3 Oblates.  A few years ago, some young people started a fire and burned down the large original building – started in 1870? – where the young men were trained.

We arrived home in Saskatoon at 9:30pm… a full day, but not too stressful.  I then joined our retired Bishop Sylvain OMI to watch the news and follow the progress of the Boston bombings investigation.  That has been a big shock to everyone here.  Then, the next day we learn two people were arrested before they bombed the train between Toronto and New York.  Let’s pray for peace and tolerance.  Till next week, God Bless.


Arrival in Canada
gconlanomi

At the airport in Saskatoon I was greeted warmly by the MAMI boss (Diane LePage and her wonderful husband Bernard).  After my delay in Toronto it was nice to finally arrive.  Here is Diane in Kenya (January, 2013) getting her hands washed by Fr Gideon OMI our first Oblate priest from the Mission.

image

I then set to work for a week, with Diane, preparing for the presentations to give around Canada from April up to 23rd June, 2013 (I finish in Halifax). 

image

image

I also had some social evenings with Diane and her sister Denise (who also came to Kenya in January, 2013).  So that has been great…

http://sphotos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/555003_10151631620071654_1191851410_n.jpg

I rode a SKIDOO for the first time last week… Diane thought I was driving like an old man.. but I told her I was just being cautious the first time round!

http://sphotos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/532930_10151630306271654_814073600_n.jpg

I feel a bit like Paul Hogan in Australia who, while promoting Australia as a tourist destination, famously said: “It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.”

Anyway, after one week of prep’s it was off to St Walburg for my first weekend of Masses and presentations.


Travelling to Canada via London
gconlanomi

After the normal Sunday Masses on Sunday 8th April, I took the Shuttle down to Nairobi and caught the plane at 11pm to London.  I had supper at my friend’s restaurant and he drove to the airport.  I slept a little on the plane and arrived without incident in London – immigration hardly even looked at me – I suppose at 6am on a Monday morning it is hard to get too excited. 

I was carrying two big bags of Kionyo tea for the speaking tour around Canada, so I checked them in at the terminal – after crying poor, the man kindly suggested I plastic wrap the two bags together and check it in as one bag – a mere 48kg!  But it saved a few dollars.  I then took the Tube train to London and stayed with my niece Alexandra for two nights.  As they say, timing is everything… as it was 7am in the morning I had to pay 16 pound for my ticket… 3 hours later it would have been Off-Peak and half price.  Oh, well.

Because my niece was working during the day I took the opportunity to visit the Oblate Parish in Quex Rd, Kilburn, where I spent 6 months doing pastoral work in 2001.  Sadly, the previous secretaries had left 2 or 3 years before, so I never got to see them.  But I did see two of the younger parishioners who are now married with children.  After a sleep and lunch at the parish, I toured London looking for my niece’s place at Hackney.

Apart from seeing people, Alexandra and her colleague managed to get free tickets to see the musical “Billy Elliot”.  It was a great show and I was just amazed at the courage of the young actor playing the part of “Billy”; all of 12 years old.  Apparently there are about 5 boys playing the “Billy” character, and they take it in turn, so they can continue their school work.  They all live in a the same house and get “home” schooling.  The weather in London was pretty good… typically British as they say. There is also an 85 year old grandmother (really) who acts like a cheeky 40 year old!  My niece and her friend are practicing to do the signing for deaf people at the show in the coming weeks.

I was very impressed by the Victoria Palace Theatre, too.  Lucky I got a free ticket.

Then, on Wednesday, I took the plane to Toronto, Canada, and thankfully I remembered to collect my “two” bags… the man was a bit surprised how heavy the bag was!  I was also fortunate that British Airways gave me a Missionary fare which allowed me to carry 3 x 23kg bags for free.  Unfortunately when I arrived in Canada, despite a promise over the phone, I had to pay for the second bag… but $23 seemed reasonable for 21kg. 

In London, our plane was held up for 2 hours and I missed my connection to Saskatoon.  This was a blessing in disguise because they put me up in the Sheraton International for the night, and I got a decent 5 hours sleep.  Next morning they almost cancelled our flight to Saskatoon because of storms… but we got away just in time and we landed safely at 9:30am, to be welcomed warmly by Diane and her husband, Bernard.  Diane is the boss of our MAMI office (Missionary Association).

SASKATOON, in the Province (State) of Saskatchewan, Canada – has a decent airport for a city of less than 250,000 people.  It is supposed to be spring here, but there is lots of snow!

So, that’s enough for today!  Take care and God Bless, Gerard


2013 Easter Vigil – Blessed by the rain!
gconlanomi

Last year my Easter Vigil Mass was a bit pressured and difficult… I was preparing to go home to Australia the next day (Easter Sunday 2012) and had many jobs/projects to finish off. I was practicing my Kiswahili lines at the dinner table as I had run out of time! Worse, I forgot to take my small Kiswahili Missal with all the extra liturgy bits for Baptism and Confirmation. It is always in my Mass bag, but I had lent it to our Seminarian for one day, and he didn’t return it. So, during the Mass I had to ad-lib some prayers which is not easy in a foreign language.

This year I was more prepared and more fluent in the Kiswahili Mass parts. It is a complex ceremony in English and, without good preparation, it is very stressful in an unfamiliar language. Last year I had a visiting local priest to assist, and this year I was by myself.  All went smoothly … or at least, no one is complaining, yet! 

This year, we had several Baptism/Confirmation/Communion candidates and then some for Confirmation/Communion only. I had been praying for fine weather for the Easter Vigil, as I would be going by motorbike at night time to our prayer house at Mucecune (their first ever Easter Vigil Mass – after 15 years of the Oblates being there – they requested, as usually people are not keen on night time Masses).

My prayers were not fully answered… it was sprinkling as I went to Mass 5km on the bike (6:30pm)… then it poured during the service and the roads became slippery. Light rain was falling as I left for home at 10:30pm, reaching medium rain by arrival… and very heavy shortly afterwards!!! Thanks be to God I was inside watching the Pope in Rome on the TV with a glass of cheap red to celebrate Easter!  As I ride along on the motorbike, I can't put the visor down because can't see through the water – no wipers! When I leave it open, my lips get a battering. I keep thinking… Jesus what are you doing to me? Then I think, people in Australia would think I was mad… but, you know, I wouldn’t be dead for quids (as they say). I just started laughing to myself (yes, it helps to be a little bit mad!) and started singing my favourite song: slip-slidin' away… you know the nearer the destination the more you keep slidin' away. (http://www.paulsimon.com/us/song/slip-slidin%E2%80%99-away) This, as the bike slides around in the mud!

 image

This Easter, it was rather special to have our first Kenyan Oblate priest from this mission, leading the Good Friday Service where he sang a part of the Gospel with several bit-part players, all in their local Kimeru language. St Eugene would have been proud… new men, and using the local language!

After the Easter weekend, I had to dash off to Nairobi with the motorbike on the back of the parish ute to get some necessary repairs done before leaving for Canada the next Sunday (7th April). I managed to achieve several jobs during the day (often only one job is possible!), but as I headed back to collect the motorbike, after 2 hours fighting the traffic, my repair man tells me it won’t be ready until 12pm the next day as the parts were incorrect… growl. So I sat at a service station waiting for the traffic to reduce before heading back to the town centre where my friend Godfrey is (only 1 hr of fighting the traffic going back). I stayed with him to avoid a long drive out to our seminary then back again in the morning. His children are all off at boarding school. So they enjoy the company… so they say!!

image

Now I am en-route to Canada for two months of ministry to share our OMI Kenya Mission story with others. I dropped in to London to say hello to my niece (who is much smarter than me!), and also visit the Oblates in Kilburn (London), where I worked as a Brother for 6 months in 2001. But that is for another Post.  Have a good week.


2013 Seminar for Men – Part 3
gconlanomi

As often happens here, there was an unexpected visitor during the Seminar! An aspiring MP for the 4th March election (who comes from our Nyaagi P/House), asked to come in and say a few words. He waited for 10 minutes listening to our speaker, and I showed him the handout sheet, which he dutifully read. We then interrupted the main speaker and gave him the floor, as he had a busy schedule. He is actually a nice man, and his son started studying in Perth, West Australia, in 2012.

Our aspiring MP spoke for about 15 minutes – very short by local standards – and he did so moderately and carefully, speaking in support of the Seminar and the Church, and saying: “I will thank God if I win, and thank God if I lose, at the elections.”

He finished at 1:30pm, and we then continued with the main speaker until 2:15pm, when we broke for lunch. I was amazed that the men were still alert, since the speaker started at 12:15pm. After lunch we broke into groups and Mr Inoti was brilliant at splitting them up quickly… I was planning 10 or 15 men per group but he did by decades… one group for each above 40, and one group under 40.

The Questions:

1. What was the role of a man 50 years ago?

a. What is the role of a man today?

b. How do men act today?

2. What do men need to assist them today?

3. How do our Fathers bless us before leaving home?

4. How can we make Church and Faith more welcoming and encouraging?

5. Why do men NOT come to SCC & other Church groups?


2013-02-16 - men's seminar (1)
The Youngsters in a Huddle (under 40 Years)

After 30 minutes we reassembled, and then had a vote of thanks by the Parish Chairman, followed by the parish priest, Fr Daquin; and, then, we invited Fr Gideon OMI and Br Dionisius OMI to introduce themselves (that’s our Oblate Community at Kionyo). Before lunch we had about 160 men, but after lunch we were down to 120. I can’t say how many we started with, because in Kenya, people keep coming until the end! 10am Mass started 30 minutes late with about 20 men.


2013-02-16 - men's seminar (6)
The Middle Aged Outside (60 – 70 Years)

So, with all these interruptions, we only had time to have feedback from the youngest and oldest groups. We then finished off the day as it was almost 5pm. Having started 40 minutes late, and all the interruptions, I was amazed the men were so attentive… and afterwards, the feedback was wonderfully positive… all I could think was: “thank God for our main speaker!”

2013-02-16 - men's seminar (5)
The Seniors Group (over 70 Years)

CLOSING PRAYER

God of Jeremiah, We pray for men who speak your word to our community
Encourage them, enlighten them, hearten them.

God of Zaccheus We pray for men who seek you.
Accompany them, meet them, bless them.

God of Abraham, We pray for men who journey in hope
Strengthen them, enable them, settle them.

God of the boy David, We pray for young men.
Protect them, challenge them, satisfy them.

God of the nameless thieves on the crosses beside Jesus,
We pray for men in desperate situations - Guide them, equip them, weep with them.

God of Peter the Apostle, We pray for men who are leaders in church and society
Sensitise them, sustain them, assure them.

God of Jairus, whose young daughter was healed
We pray for family men - Help them, steer them, counsel them.

God of all people everywhere, Equip us to be what you call us to be
In all our diversity and complexity Wherever we are, for your love’s sake, Amen.

(Source: http://www.pauanglican.org.nz/index.php/activities/mens-group )


2013 Seminar for Men – Part 2
gconlanomi

Opening Prayer

Almighty God, You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
You hold all authority in heaven and earth.

As I approach your throne of grace,
I seek to give you the respect you deserve.

I come before you acknowledging the areas of responsibility
you have put in my life. You have ordained that I be a leader
in my home, in my church, and in my workplace.

I ask you to raise me up to be the best leader I can be this day.
I bow my head, and I bow my WILL to you today.

By faith, I believe that you are bringing me
the wisdom and guidance that I need this day.

I declare that I will cooperate with you as you bring my mind, WILL, and emotions
into agreement with your plans and purposes.

In Jesus' Name. Amen.

(Source: http://www.inspirational-prayers.com/prayers-for-men.html )

The theme of our 2013 Seminar was to become the men we were made to be! To be ACTIVE, and not to be PASSIVE.

[I must express a vote of thanks to Robert Falzon in Australia (co-founder of menALIVE men’s ministry – www.menALIVE.org.au), for his suggestions and resource materials.]

The seminar began with a quick mention of the Biblical King David and his actions during the sickness and death of his illegitimate baby. The example of King David was deliberately chosen to show that all of us are sons of God, even when we make bad decisions and do bad things… I asked how many of the men had had an affair and arranged to have the husband killed? No one volunteered that they had!

The death of Bathsheba's child.

His officers said, 'Why are you acting like this? When the child was alive you fasted and wept; now the child is dead you get up and take food.‘ 'When the child was alive' he answered 'I fasted and wept because I kept thinking, "Who knows? Perhaps God will take pity on me and the child will live.“ But now he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him but he cannot come back to me.' (2 Sam 12:21-23 - Jerusalem Bible)

In the midst of crisis and sadness, King David was NOT PASSIVE… he was ACTIVE.

Mr Inoti, a main speaker, is a very good man, and the talk he gave was more like a TV evangelist! He was funny, serious, and at ease. The men responded with laughter, feedback and interjection. In contrast, when I introduced the topics and gave information, people were polite, but subdued… one old man in the front had his head tilted back with his mouth open have a snooze! I took that as a cue to wrap it up quick.

2013-02-16 - men's seminar (3)
The Main Speaker – Mr Inoti (front-left)

Most of the men understand English, but accents are a problem. My accent is easier than Canadian, but to assist the event, I put key points on a PowerPoint Slideshow, and this at least gave the men something to read!

If you are interested, you can get the file here…

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=F3EBB6B439E149CA!373&authkey=!AJMKizJmVo8rwjs

At the end of the day, we also gave a single, double sided, sheet with notes and thoughts for each person, hoping that this might become discussion items at local CMA meetings.

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=F3EBB6B439E149CA!374&authkey=!AAUd7tbCkv480kM


2013 Seminar for Men – Part 1
gconlanomi

FAITH

• Faith does not mean passivity. It means the courage to act and never to be deterred. The future will happen, but it is we – inspired, empowered, given strength by the promise—who must bring it about.

• It is not so much that we have faith in God but that God has faith in us.

God is glorified when men are fully alive! St Irenaeus

In January, 2011, I was appointed Chaplain for the C.M.A. (Catholic Men’s Association) in Kionyo Parish, Kenya. When I met with them we discussed what they wanted and needed. There is a CMA group at each of our 11 Prayer Houses, with all the CMA Chairpersons forming the Parish CMA Executive to coordinate at the Parish and Diocesan level.

One of the things we discussed was Seminars to give input for the men. I asked them to come up with some dates and topics, but nothing happened. Then, life became busy for me settling into the parish, grappling with the YCS (Catholic Student groups in our 9 Secondary Schools), Parish Computer College, 30 Small Christian Communities (out of 90), etc., etc. I kept saying, “we must have a seminar!”

In January, 2013 (yes, 2 years later), I met with the men’s executive to de-brief the “2012 Rite of Passage” event that the CMA organised and managed for our Primary School leavers (for boys – a girls “Alternative Rite of Passage” was also organised, but that is another story!). At that meeting I raised the issue of a parish seminar for men – they enthusiastically said “YES”, and we decided to make a date, otherwise it would never happen!

The Parish Chairman and all the CMA executive promoted it, but (in true “no rush” Kenya) by Tuesday 12th, we only received 96 registrations. We chose the 16th February, 2013. As the first weekend in Lent… it would also double as an encouragement for their faith journey through Lent, and prepare for Easter. Due to a busy schedule in January with visitors, I ended up needing a few days off in early February, which meant I had 4 days to prepare, and on the first of those days I learned that the main speaker was not available.

As the Diocesan CMA chairperson, he promised a replacement the next day. Our Parish CMA chairman was to follow it up… but only gave me the info on Friday morning… after he was unavailable on the Thursday. Needless to say, I was getting a bit “worried”! The men were not sure why I was worried, as he would be coming on Saturday. But, I explained, “we need to make sure we are all on the same page so our talks are complementing and supportive.”

I took the motorbike and visited the new speaker, Mr Inoti Genaro Murugu, a teacher past the retirement age of 55 (as he told me), working in a primary school 600 metres below Kionyo and about 27km by road… the last 9kms of which was a bone jarring dusty ride… thank God (and my friends) that I had a tough Honda XL200! [I suppose I could have slowed down, but then where’s all the fun? :-) ].


2013-02-22 - Gerry on Honda pikipiki at kionyo
On the Honda Motorbike

When I arrived at the school (badly in need of money and resources), it was hot and dusty, but a swarm of happy children quickly gathered around the bike. A few teachers came out the front… warmly welcomed me and offered me “uji”, a kind of nutritious porridge that they drink. They kindly allowed our speaker, to talk with me for an hour as I went through the program and asked him for his guidance… all I had was something vague, struggling to know how to approach men’s issues in a different culture (the topics requested by the executive were: leadership, faith, responsibility, HIV/AIDS, drunkenness & alcoholism).  We agreed to focus on the first three, knowing that the last three are consequences of not living the first three well.

I first of all apologised for the short notice, which he quickly brushed away saying, that’s normal! He was very affirming of the slides I had prepared, and we agreed that I would give facts and knowledge about men, while he would talk about the information in the local language and using local examples and cultural adjustments. I was very touched by his dedication at the school, which he told me has a disabilities class with 15 students. It was quite a treat for the children to see an ugly white man like me, and they crowded around the door to our meeting room like a swarm of bees. Mr Inoti said, “Father, you better greet them and then they will be happy and run away to have their ‘uji’.” One little girl started giggling uncontrollably (she has a slight mental disability), and the teacher calmly held on to her and, at the end, asked other students to gently take her away.

After we finished our preparation chat, I had to greet his Class 2 students and apologise for stealing their teacher! As my Swahili is still poor, I started demonstrating a kangaroo, which sent them into fits of laughter, as I barely kept my balance – lucky I’m such a great athlete!

Take care & God Bless, Gerard

Parts 2 & 3 to follow…


Born to New Life at 101
gconlanomi

Sorry for the long silence… since coming back to Kionyo there has been a lot of activity and a lot of absences from the pastoral team, which means more work for those left behind. 

Today I celebrated the funeral for a wonderful old man who died at the age of 101 (and 1 month): Eustace Mungania.  I include the eulogy (at the end) from the Requiem Mass which was conducted in the rain, at the family home… outside.  Luckily, they provided 3 x 50 person tents plus a small tent for the priest and another for the coffin. 

Lucky for them, it rained at the beginning of Mass, so I cut my introduction by half, then again at the time of the readings and the homily, so I cut that in half, too.

Last year, after our Centenary Mass for the Diocese of Meru, I transported our elderly friend home in the car.  His wife (only 80 and very active), was telling me today that he has not stopped talking about that trip home… I’m not sure whether it was fear of the driver, or the fact that a white man was his chauffer.  When you read the eulogy, you will understand the latter reason.  He had a wonderful sense of humour and was talkative and interested in many things.

I made a change to the program (as they were running late), and requested the speeches come after the burial (usually they come after Mass before the burial).  I relented and allowed the eulogy to be read after Mass, and then, as the rain ran away, I said let’s do the burial.  Some people were very happy, and others looked a bit disappointed.  But after the burial, people were free to talk for as long as they wanted.  I had another appointment, so after 40 minutes of chatting with the wife and other family members, I headed home.

After reaching home, I changed my bag and headed off to the Minor Seminary, in Nkubu, for confessions of the Form 4 students (Year 12) preparing for Mass the next day (with their parents).  I was told it was one class (I assumed 40 odd).  When I arrived 20 minutes late, no one was ready… so we started at 4:45pm with a short intro, and some free advice about the common sins (saves repeating myself 50 times).  After 1 hour 45 minutes, the local priest came in and I though they must be finished, and he said “what shall we do, you will have to cut your spiritual direction to finish everyone.”  I said, “Oh, I thought we must be finished.”  He said, “No, there are 30 more and it is now dark.”  I said, “It’s OK, if I stop now i will never get started again.  But I thought there were only 40?”  He said, not it is the whole year group = 89!”  So, I finished at 8:15pm after 3 hours and 15 minutes of individual confessions… funny, I never felt tired.  The young men were so honest and looking for advice.

Afterwards, I went to the common room of the priests and there was an Italian man there (say 60 and his first trip out of Italy).  This is noteworthy because he brought a few bottles of white wine (he comes from Torino in the North).  They opened one while I was having a bite to eat, and it was very effervescent and pleasant to the palate… but according to some people (Fr Tony), that is no recommendation!  It was hard, but I limited myself to one glass, then jumped on the motorbike and headed home (12km up the hill).  As I left it was dry, by the time I left town it was spitting.  But it was just spitting all the way, so thanks be to God I arrived home dry.

Now, I have just written this blog, because I knew if I didn’t do it now it would never happen!  The old man and the funeral really touched me.  I hope it inspires you, too.  The Mama (wife) is amazing… then I met her too sisters!  So here is a photo of the three of them… such character in their faces (I asked permission to publish, and they laughed after the catechist translated).

2012-10-19 - Funeral Kionyo - Eustace Mungania (4)
Left-Right: Charity (wife and Sister No. 3 = youngest, & now a widow), Sister No. 2, Sister No. 1 (oldest).

The Sister No. 1 has a wonderful face, full of character – happy, yet full of stories.  Charity was not sad, but happy for him, and not worried about being looked after as she has her large family.

OK, enough for now… the Eulogy is below:
Take care and God Bless, Gerard

MZEE= respectful title for an elder or older person.

MAUMAU = the fight for independence with the British… just now there was a victory in the English Courts acknowledging Human Rights Abuses and torture during the fighting.  Look up the INTERNET.

EULOGY OF THE LATE EUSTAC MUNGANIA M'RARIA.
Nickname from the Fight for Independence: KAUNANGE MUMERU

EARLY LIFE

The Late Mungania M'Raria was born in 1911. He was son to Late Mr. and Mrs. M'Raria Njara. He was husband to Charity Nkuene. He was brother to Late Alice Karingi M'Ikinga of Chuka, Late Celina Solomon of Murungurune, Late Gatwiri King'uru, Eunice Kanachi Kariuki of Murungurune, Late Margaret Igoki, Late Muthoni Mukura, Late M'Mugambi M'Raria, Late Michael Mugira, Mr. Charles Manyara M'Raria and Mwariumwe M'Raria.

He was father to Late Rebecca Kathera, George Kimathi, Joyce Mwari Kariuki, Susan Kathambi, Jackson Kithinji, Michael Ikunda, Moses Kirimi, Late Stella Nkatha and Kenneth Mwirigi.

He was brother in law to Gerard Muthamia, Japhet Kiugu, Ikunda M'Mburugu, Silas Manene Kibiti, Josphine Gilbert, Faith M'Rinkanya, Late Charity Kirigia, Late Agnes Micheck and Salome Kaburu among others.

He was father in law to Titus Kiruki, Jeremy Riungu, Late George Kimathi, Muthuri Nahason, Joyce Kagendo K'imathi, Faith Kajuju Kithinji, Peninah Nkirote Ikunda, Roseline Kagwiria Kirima and Sarah Kajuju Mwirigi.

He had 35 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.

EDUCATION

At an early age Mzee Eustac left for Mujwa. He grew up among the Catholic Missionaries (Consolata) who took him to school in Mujwa. He joined Primary School at Mujwa Catholic Mission. He left school at standard four.

CHRISTIANITY

He was baptized at a tender age by Catholic Missionaries at Mujwa. He grew up as a staunch Catholic. He was a prayerful Christian and always implored on his children to put God first in all that they do.

When he became sick and weak and could no longer attend church services he always sent his contributions. to the church. He was a committed member of Kionyo Catholic Church and an active member of Karathune Small Christian Community.

MARRIAGE

Mzee met and married his beloved wife Charity Nkuene in1953 under the customary law. They were blessed with nine(9) children (five sons and 4 daughters). They later ceremonised their marriage in 1996 at St. Stephen Catholic Church, Kionyo. They have lived happily together till his demise.

WORKING EXPERIENCE

Mzee was employed in early 1940’s by the colonial government as Agricultural Officer until the State of Emergency was declared in 1952.

MAUMAU MOVEMENT

While working for the Colonial Government, Mzee secretly joined the MauMau Movement. When the war for independence intensified, Mzee stopped working for the Colonial Government and joined other MauMau members in the forest. In 1949 he became the leader of the Meru MauMau members based in Nairobi where he had relocated. Among the other MauMau members leaders in Nairobi, there was a prominent Kikuyu leader by the name Koinange. Mzee was named Kaunange Mumeru to distinguish him from the Kikuyu leader Koinange and this name became famous and stuck to him until his demise.

While working as the leader of MauMau from Meru, in 1953 he was arrested by the Colonial Government. He was tried in a Nairobi Law Court and sentenced to 7 years in jail. This was a big blow to his young family coming only four months after wedding his wife.

He served for five years at Manyani Prison and was transferred to Embu Prison where he served for one year both under hard labour. He was released in 1958 and put under Colonial Supervision. While in prison, he trained as a mechanic. In 1959 he started a mechanic garage at Kanyakine Market specializing in motorbikes and bicycle repair.

Later he moved to Nairobi and continued in businesses as follows: painting, hotels and liquor. In 1970's he relocated to Kionyo market and continued with liquor and hotel businesses and farming.

SOCIAL LIFE

Mzee was friendly, humble, caring and selfless. He was always ready and available whenever needed, he was ready to listen to all classes and ages of people.

COMMUNITY LIFE

Mzee served in different community activities. He was a committee member of Kionyo Primary School for many years, Chairman Karathune Water Project, Chairman Karathune Tea Buying Centre, member of Council of Elders for Abogeta Location, Vice-Chairman Meru MauMau Welfare Association, Chairman of Abonchenge Clan. During the Kanu Regime, he was the Vice-Chairman of Abogeta Location. He served as Chairman during land consolidation and adjudication.

SICKNESS

Mzee started ailing in the year 1995. He was treated in various hospitals including Chogoria Mission, Nkubu Mission, Meru General Kanyakine District Hospital, Kiirua Mission, Cottolengo, Aghakan Hospital Nairobi, Kenyatta National, Kikuyu Mission Hospital among others.

On Saturday 13th October 2012, Mzee passed away while asleep. May the name of the Lord be praised. We loved you Dad but God loved you more. God gave Eustac and God has called him back to dwell in his Eternity. Amen.


Travelling to Nairobi.
gconlanomi
Hi there. been a while since I said hello. Settling back into the parish has
been an active experience. Last week I went down to Nairobi for business and
supplies, and to say a proper farewell to our Scholastic Brother from
Canada. The Mission Superior, David and myself went Italian on the Sunday
night after a quick trip from Kionyo to Nairobi.

The trip down was an eye opener, even after two years over here in Africa. I
arrived at Nkubu (13km below the parish at the main road to Nairobi). There
was a "shuttle" almost ready to go. 3 more passengers required, 2 after I
got in. 20 minutes later we headed off. It is a Toyota Hi-Ace type of
vehicle (without the 'Hi' part!). There a 3 rows of three seats behind the
driver. I was in the row immediately behind the driver, with two young
mothers and five (YES, 5!) little kids sprawled around in various positions.
The Police in Australia would throw the driver into jail for 20 years, I
guess. If the vehicle had an immediate stop, two of the kids would go
through the front window. But, in Kenya, people have a poor sense of danger
and consequences.

For once in my life I kept my mouth shut and just offered up a prayer. About
halfway, the mother next to me started dipping her head to her lap. after
two or three times I realised she was a little car sick, but was so discrete
it was amazing. At the halfway stop I offered her a soft-drink, but she did
not want it, but accepted a bottle of water. After halfway the kids all fell
asleep again, and then mum got sick again. Just before Nairobi one of the
kids got sick in sympathy with mum. When we arrived I slipped a little
pocket money to the mum. some people do it tough over here, and mothers seem
to bear a heavier load than men.

image001.png




Economy Express to Nairobi.

On Monday I went to town to purchase survey equipment to complement the
generous donation of a Total Station (theodolite) I received in Australia. I
purchased two wooden legs (tripods as they call them here), a 2m range-pole
and a 5m levelling staff. It all cost me about $750, so now I will have some
left over funds to insure the Total Station. I also arranged for 4
second-hand LCD computer screens, 4 keyboards and 4 "mouse's" for the
Computer lab.

On Tuesday I went to the M.E.D.S. company (Mission for Essential Drug
Supplies) established by the Bishops here to provide good quality drugs at
affordable prices. Here I stocked up on supplies for the two Medical
Dispensaries we have in the parish. The place was past the airport, so I
took a taxi. I came back to town with 4 boxes, collected the computer box,
and the two survey boxes and three men assisted me to carry them to the
"shuttle" back to the parish. I purchased three seats at the back of the
shuttle. I didn't realise this one was not my normal company until too late.
a bit exhausted with the loaded walk (I must be getting old!). This shuttle
was a Nissan 14 seater, meaning there is less space. I was in the back seat
so received the maximum vertical momentum at every bump. two seats were for
boxes (plus a couple behind the seat) and one for me.

I was planning to do a little typing along the way, but didn't even start!
So I read a book and tried to enjoy the journey. actually, I was a bit
amazed I got everything done and fitted in the vehicle. I must be becoming
African.

Well, I better head to bed after a couple of late nights. OK, take care with
whatever you are doing, and keep smiling. it confuses people!!

God Bless, Gerard

?

Log in

No account? Create an account